Couldn’t help but notice that WAGA anchor Tom Haynes produced a story Monday about the burglary of his own home. The on-camera premise, uttered during a tease, seemed honorable enough: We ask you to tell your stories of woe on TV, Haynes told viewers. Now, I’m gonna tell you mine.
And then Haynes told his story, with improv’d standups / self-interviews as he gloomily looked at the damage. Aside from an interview with a neighbor who’d suffered the same fate the same day, there wasn’t much else. From a storytelling standpoint, that was unfortunate. Haynes would probably agree that, while jarring to his family, his was a routine burglary. If it hadn’t happened to a WAGA talent, it never would have gotten on TV.
Haynes’s supervisors probably strongly urged him to do the story. The pattern would be familiar; they strongly urged self-coverage of another burglary at the home of a WAGA reporter in December 2005. In that instance, however, the burglary-spree story had been ongoing. The burglary of the reporter’s house yielded some arrests a few hours later. And there was the madcap tale of the priest who called 911.
This story delivered another unexpected surprise: A follow-up two days later, on Christmas. That fact alone indicates how hard-up TV is for news on Christmas Day. I actually like Mark Hyman’s “poor Richards” version better, mostly because he gave me a rare opportunity to make fun of WAGA’s management:
All this leads to the title of this post: This blog will mark the one-year anniversary of its first post this week. I’ve tried to avoid too many self-referencing comparisons, the “back in my day, we got screwed over by management this way” type of stuff that would get awfully tiresome awfully fast. This week, we may self-indulge. Feel free to return for more later in the week, or wait for less self-absorbed posts next week.
Each Atlanta TV station posts short biographies of its news personnel on their web sites. The bios are usually filled with data about awards and college degrees. Some offer the occasionally-surprising nugget. We learn that WGCL’s Rebekkah Schramm has been a broadcaster since age 15. We learn that WSB’s Anissa Centers was a bone marrow donor. We learn that WSB’s Jeff Dore took out the trash at his first TV station and is the author of an unpublished novel.
Most bios are mind-numbingly similar. They tout the humble beginnings and family values of their subjects. They list resume highlights, awards and volunteer work. There are 42 of them on WSB’s site alone. We’ve perused a fraction of them.
Without question, the best bio we’ve seen is on Dana Fowle’s WAGA blog. Fowle writes “I’m generally disheveled and have a messy car… I also love red wine, rare steak, dark chocolate and strong coffee. I’m Type A, so of course, I wish I were smarter.” This is especially funny, given that Fowle is one of those scary-smart people.
The bio is the best part of Fowle’s blog. She hasn’t updated it in more than a month.
Dale Russell’s blog bio is a close second to that of Fowle, his I-team colleague: “My desk is a mess. I don’t smoke. I do drink. I have a politically incorrect sense of humor and a little problem with authority. (I’m working on that) And, I never get my expense reports in on time.”
Our least favorite bio belongs to WAGA’s Tom Haynes, which starts thusly: “Credibility, experience and a bit of an edge; that pretty much sums up Tom Haynes…” This is especially icky because it’s obvious Haynes wrote it himself. He goes on to tout his “journalistic expertise” and his position “front and center in FOX 5’s new, innovative and interactive newscast.” His bombast is almost Burgundyesque.
The journalistically-expert Haynes could learn a thing or two about humility from some of his colleagues.